Apply These 7 Secret Techniques To Improve Email Deliverability
| October 07, 2021
About a month ago I got approached by a Super Fund, worth 23 Billion Dollars.
They had a big merger and most of their emails were either landing in the spam folder or were not being delivered at all.
Their open rate was around 8% at the time.
After I implemented what I’m about to show you, they got up to a 37% open rate.
This super fund had over 300K contacts in their email list.
- The MOST important thing when we talk about email deliverability is ENGAGEMENT.
- This post won’t help you with cold emails due to the lack of engagement
- You shouldn’t purchase third party lists or scrape emails, if you do, this is considered cold email hence this won't work for you.
- If you have a list of emails that are inactive for over a year, it will be a lot harder to get them to open your emails as they won’t remember who you are.
- If you changed domains, your contacts might not recognize you, you may need to do some education around why you made the change so they can recognize you in the future.
Here are, the 7 Secret Techniques :
# LIST CLEAN UP
Among the many things that need to happen here, the most important are:
Check and remove the domain from any black lists. Google “blacklist check mx toolbox”
Remove inactive contacts (older than 1-year old that hasn’t engaged with your emails)
Remove Bounced contacts (contacts that either have provided the wrong email address or no longer have that email account)
# SPF / DKIM / DMARC
This is a bit more advanced and can be tricky to set up if you don’t know what you are doing, but I will give you a quick rundown.
All of those three things are DNS records and they must be configured with caution. If you don’t know what you are doing, you can bring your emails to a halt and it can also affect many other things that are connected to your domain.
SPF (Sender Policy Framework): Email authentication method designed to detect forging sender addresses during the delivery of the email. In other words, this setting can limit what services can send domain on your behalf. If this is not configured (along with DKIM and DMARC), anyone will be able to send emails on your behalf, using your domain.
You can only have ONE spf record per domain and a lot of people get confused with that. You can have multiple services attached to it, like Gmail, ActiveCampaign etc.
This is how it looks like: v=spf1 include:domain1 include:domain2 -all
DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail): This is an authentication key. You will have one record per service and the tool that you are using like Gmail or ActiveCampaign will provide it to you
Example: <selector._domainkey.domain.> v=DKIM1; p=<public key>
DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) is a standard email authentication method. DMARC works in conjunction with DKIM and SPF and helps to prevent hackers and other attackers from spoofing domains.
You only need one DMARC record and it needs to be set to REJECT in order to prevent spoofing and work correctly. However, if the SPF and DKIM are not set up appropriately, this will prevent emails from being sent and received, so it’s paramount that you know what you are doing.
Example: v=DMARC1; p=quarantine; rua=mailto:dmarc-reports@domain
# DOMAIN AND IP REPUTATION MONITORING
In order to have full control and visibility of what’s happening, it’s ideal to have those tools:
MX Tools: Extremely handy to verify DMARC, SPF and DKIM functionality along with email deliverability status
Google Postmaster Tools: You can use this tool to verify domain reputation, IP reputation, spam reports and much more. This tool is free and can be used by any domain.
# IP WARMUP
This process is required when you have over 5k contacts and your email deliverability is low due to lack of engagement or due to a recent change of IP address, domain or email platform (like ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp etc)
The idea here is to send emails slowly and tell Gmail’s, Yahoo’s, Microsoft’s that you are about to send a lot of emails out.
As long as your contacts are opening your emails, clicking on links and replying, in other words, engaging, you are good to go and your emails will be delivered.
The process can take some time and you can start with sending only 50 emails a day and doubling the number of emails sent every 24 hours.
You should always start sending the warm-up email (ONE email) to the most engaging contacts first and leave the disengaged contacts for last.
# SEGMENTATION AND ENGAGEMENT TRACKING
While you are sending the emails you should have automations in place to track engagement. This is crucial because that’s how the email providers know if you are a spammer or a legit sender.
Once you have the engagement tracking in place, you will be able to segment your contacts.
An interaction can be:
- Opened an email (with the NEW IOS 15 update, this isn’t reliable anymore)
- Clicked on a link
- Made a purchase
- Subscribed to a list
- Replied to an email
- Engaged: Interacted in the past 7 days
- Disengaged: No interaction in the past month
- Inactive: No interaction in the past 60-90 days
# CUSTOMER EDUCATION
It’s important to set the contact’s expectations from the start and let them know what they are about to receive in the next days, weeks etc.
If you recently changed your Domain, it’s a good idea to let your contacts know, so they will expect more emails from the new domain and most importantly, they will know it’s coming from you.
Make sure it’s easy for contacts to unsubscribe. It’s a lot better for them to unsubscribe than to flag emails as spam.
Unsubscribes won’t damage the domain and IP reputation.
The very first email you send to your list must allow them to engage.
- Create a subject that compels them to open the emails
- Have a freebie inside or an irresistible offer they can’t say no to
- Incentivize the contacts to click on a link and reply to the email. This step is important because this will show engagement and the domain reputation will rise upon those actions
Email marketing is nothing without engagement
- Use personalized automations to make contacts on a personalized journey
- Use SMS as a secondary channel to bring them back whenever possible
- Having an automation that will show ads to your customers (custom FB audience) while they are receiving emails will increase the chance of engagement
I hope this helps you to improve your email deliverability! Enjoy.